Projection Mapping: Go Big, or Go Home

Projection Mapping: Go Big, or Go Home

January 20, 2015 Corporate Blog


With short attention spans and information overload, capturing mindshare and spurring measurable action from audiences is more challenging than ever before. Exhibitor Magazine reported that 86% of respondents in a recent survey revealed that they used technology to enhance their events in 2014.

But navigating the numerous experiential marketing technologies available today can be daunting for event planners, and implementing event technology can be a risky undertaking if you don’t have a partner who understands how to leverage it to enhance your story, not detract from it. Which is why large-scale projection mapping has become a popular way to captivate keynote and general session audiences, increase foot traffic at tradeshows and exhibits, and boost shopper engagement at marketing activations.

Make an impact at your next event, and ensure deeper connections between your audience and message through large-scale projection mapping with these five easy tips for success:

1. Surprise the Viewer

Most people have never seen large-scale projection mapping live. To maximize the impact to your audience, leverage the element of surprise by not giving away the full scope of the projection surface until the show begins. Disguise elements to appear as the existing walls and decorations, so that once the show begins, the viewer is startled to see the grand scope of the experience.

Bring depth to your content imagery by having them move through a virtual three-dimensional space you create. This deepens their emotional connection to the experience as they are transformed from the venue into your virtual reality.


Tableau Software’s Destination Data event. Note how the entire 3D stage is actually projection mapped. Elements that appear to be static graphics on the shapes actually come to life and surprise the audience during the show.


2. Own the Architecture

People will naturally assume the structure of the building, including support columns, wall areas, beams, and more, are not part of the experience. Capitalize on this, and build on the element of surprise. Make these a part of your projection with specific imagery that makes it seem you selected this space because the architecture was necessary for the overall show effect. Columns become conduits for energy waves. Alcoves become windows to another world. Ceiling soffits transform into whatever your imagination can dream up.

Always conduct site visits and make sure your creative team takes accurate measurements of the entire space, including the architectural elements, to ensure you use it all. Understand the materials, light sources, rigging, building restrictions and the ease of access to determine what will make the most visually stunning projection. Don’t take this on by yourself. Rely on our projection mapping technology partner to be responsible for these essential pre-planning elements.


USS Midway aircraft carrier projection mapped for a special event. Notice how elements of the ship’s design are planned for and designs with text fit precisely into those areas.



3. Hide the Technology

Bewilder the audience with cleverly disguised technology. Hide the projectors, block rigging from view and bury cords under carpets. Leave no trace of how the image is being rendered on screen, so that it appears like magic. You may have to insist your audio-visual partner follows this guideline. It may take more work to hide the technology, but the element of surprise will be well worth the extra preparation time.

Seamless images are achieved by blending multiple projection streams together. Special software and projectors exist to achieve this effect, so ensure you’re leveraging the right technology that will make your projection blends spot on. Subtle miss-matches on screen edge blends and differences in color temperature are perceived by people on an unconscious level and tell the brain “something isn’t right here,” and their ability to suspend disbelief is disrupted.

The signal of success is when the audience is looking all around trying to determine where the projection is coming from, or looking over their shoulder to where sound is emanating from. Don’t accept blurry areas or fuzzy blends as being good enough. Projection mapping professionals know how to make creative content crystal clear, no matter how large or complex the 3D space of your projection.


Corporate event general session. The projectors are hidden in shadowed ceiling soffits. The stage is floor to ceiling. Speakers and wires cannot be seen.



4. Control the Audio-Visual Footprint

Understand the ideal angles of view to experience your projection and ensure your audience is properly positioned for maximum experience. Chairs should only be placed where you want them, and any seating or standing zones that will be partially blocked by architecture or other elements should be avoided.

Consider how you will allow sound to move through the space and plan for this before you begin your content development. Rely on your audio-visual partner to help plan the audio experience. New fiber optic audio systems exist that deliver immersive and personalized experiences, with the ability to control sound in sections of the room as small as a couple of chairs! This is especially important for your audiences’ immersion in the experience. Make sure seating gives the maximum visual and audio experience.


Dell World event general session. Notice how chairs are kept a significant distance away from the projection mapped walls to ensure no one interrupts the projection light cone and everyone has an immersive view of the projection content.



5. Keep the Eyes Moving

Audiences have the most positive reactions to large-scale projection mapping displays when images and corresponding sound travel from one end of the “screen” to the other, causing them to turn their heads with the motion. This back and forth movement pulls viewers deeper into the experience and reconfirms the immersive environment. Viewers will have to move to experience everything, which makes your event even more exciting.

Whether it’s an intimate gala, a large-scale user conference, or a permanent installation in a public space, playing to the audiences’ sense of wonder is one of the best routes to an experience, and a message they will never forget.


The audience has to turn to look 180 degrees in both directions to fully experience the room’s projection mapped content. Images travel across the screens back and forth, enhancing the experience.


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